#11 Oregon State (7-1) @ #14 Stanford (7-2)
Saturday, November 10
In my opinion, Oregon State and Stanford are pretty much dead even. This should be a traditional, grind-it-out style of game as both teams have good defenses and methodical offenses. This game will be played at Stanford, where the Cardinal have had pretty good success this season. However, the Beavers have proven to be a very capable road team this year.
Oregon State offense vs Stanford defense
Oregon State's QB, Cody Vaz, has done very well after taking over for the former starter, Mannion. In Vaz’s first game as a starter, against a very good BYU defense on the road, he went for 332 yards 3 TD and 0 INT. He also came in late in the fourth quarter at Washington to almost lead his team to a comeback victory. They are going to rely heavily on his arm Saturday, because Stanford has the #1 rush defense in the country. The way to beat Stanford and keep drives going is to throw the intermediate and deep routes. Stanford has a pass defense rated #99 in the nation, and as Arizona showed earlier in the season, there are some holes to be found in the Cardinal secondary. Vaz will need to churn out a performance similar to the one he displayed against BYU to move the ball consistently against Stanford.
Stanford Offense vs Oregon State Defense
Stanford will start redshirt freshman QB, Kevin Hogan, this Saturday. He is filling in for the struggling Josh Nunes. This will be Hogan's first career start against one of the Pac-12's best defenses in Oregon State. Hogan was very efficient last week at Colorado, but the Buffaloes have one of the worst defenses in all of college football this season. Many people say that Hogan will jump-start the Stanford offense, but it will be interesting to see how the young QB responds to the pressure and adversity of being in a tough spot against a quality opponent.
Stanford likes to run a relatively vanilla downhill running game, mixing in play action to their tight ends. Oregon State has gone up against similar offenses in Utah and Wisconsin earlier in the season. The Beavers held those two opponents to 3.0 and 1.5 yards per carry respectively. Oregon State ranks #14 in the nation overall in run defense this season. Expect the Beavers to load the box, stop the run, and make the freshman QB execute tight downfield throws to sustain drives. If Oregon State can do that, they should have a good chance to win this game outright.
I’m expecting a semi-low scoring game in this one. I could easily see this game coming down to a field goal by either team. In that case, I’ll take the team with the more capable offense and proven quarterback getting the 4.5 points. Take Oregon State +4.5.